Are you a sender or a goer? Or, are you in disobedience? Those were the two questions that I ended my last post with. For this post, I’ll begin with just one question and move forward from there.
Is it possible to have a personal, interactive relationship with the God who has revealed Himself in the bible and NOT be interested in what is generally referred to as “missions”?
Me thinks not……and here’s why:
As Matt Kottman so simply and beautifully pointed out in his reply to my last post, God Himself, in the essence of who He is, (a tri-une God), is both a sender, (the Father), a goer, (the Son), and an ongoing sender, (the Holy Spirit), who empowers those that continue to go and those who send them! Because this is true, anyone, (especially a pastor), with the God-given gift of teaching that is empowered by the Holy Spirit will be challenging God’s people to either go or send those who He does call to go.
As I’ve pointed out before in a previous blog post, those who commandeered the great line from “Field of Dreams” and turned it into “If you teach it, they will come”, were a bit off, in my opinion. The reality is that, “If you teach it, they will go”! And obviously the THEY is a reference to God’s people–those who hunger to be taught His word.
And to spin that line one more way, “If you teach it, they will send!” And they will “send” those who “go” in accordance with the principles that the Apostle John challenged Gaius with in 3 John 6-8. He basically told Gaius that those who have gone forth for His name’s sake should be sent forward on their journey “in a manner worthy of God” and that by doing so the one who sends them in this way becomes a “fellow worker for the truth”.
The two missionary families that I visited in Mexico a few weeks were great examples of what I’m talking about. The one family heard the call to “go” 13 years ago. The other heard that call 26 years ago. Both of them were sent forward on their journey by their home churches (both of which were Calvary Chapels), in a “manner worthy of God”. And, as unusual as it is, they have continued to be maintained in various ways by their home churches over all the years they’ve been there in a way that is “worthy of God”. Their home churches, through the leadership imparted by the senior pastor have truly been “fellow workers for the truth”.
As much as it grieves me to say it, those two missionary families and the care they’ve received from their home churches, (similar to the care I received from my home church when I served on the field), are the miniscule exception and definitely NOT the rule that is the norm within our group of churches.
In my next post I’ll unpackage a few more of the reasons that prompted me to ask the question above (in italics). But for now, let me leave you with a question based on a different phrase that I heard for the first time at the first CC Senior Pastor’s conference I attended in 1984:
Pastor, are your sheep the “best fed and best loved” even when the Good Shepherd calls them to serve in foreign pastures?